Modern and Contemporary Art from India
February 25, 2011 through September 4, 2011, San Jose Museum of Art
35 ¼ x 44 ¼ inches
Acrylic on canvas
Private collection

Manjit Bawa
Born 1941, Dhuri, Punjab, India
Died 2008, New Delhi
Manjit Bawa was among the modern artists who rejected the academic realism and neutral palette that prevailed in India’s British-led art schools. Instead, Bawa developed an imaginative style of rendering elongated, “inflated” figures afloat in vibrant but sparse backgrounds. In Hunting, a hunter witnesses a horned animal being attacked seemingly by a lion—a familiar trope in Indian miniature painting.

Bawa’s scenes were inspired by his childhood in the agricultural region of Punjab: "I grew up like Krishna, playing with [cows] and drinking milk straight from their udder… therefore farm animals like cows and goats keep appearing in my paintings."1 Bawa frequently portrayed tales of the Hindu gods, in particular Krishna, who was the protector of cows.

1Manjit Bawa, quoted in Bhattacharjee, Baruna, “Realms of Fantasy,” 2004,